PHOENIX - The Phoenix City Council has voted 6-3 to approve bonuses of up to $2000 for its employees - but only if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
This comes almost a week after they had to pause their vaccine requirement for Phoenix city workers.
The payments would be completely covered by President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. Bonuses would only go to city staff who are vaccinated by January 18, 2022.
This includes full-time and part-time employees and would not go to elected officials, executive staff or managers.
Back in November, Phoenix said more than 13,000 employees must be vaccinated or risk losing their jobs, but that decision was paused last week after a federal court ruling temporarily blocked it.
Now, council members are hoping this bonus incentive will entice more people to get the vaccine.
"I know this is money that is going to come very handy to a lot of people that are out there that continue to keep us safe, said Betty Guardado, councilwoman for District 5.
However, some council members were not too eager to give the green light, saying that the money should be given to all the employees who worked during the pandemic.
"They risked the lives of the people around them to protect us," said Sal DiCiccio, councilman with District 6. "This is meant to give those individuals that little thank you that they deserve, and now it’s become politicized."
Currently, employees can submit their vaccination card to receive a $75 safety award, although the city is not requiring workers to reveal their vaccination status. More than 7,500 employees - or 51% of the city's workforce - have submitted their cards.
Arizona COVID-19 resources, FAQ: azdhs.gov/coronavirus
In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Monitor your health daily
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